Hello. I have had severe sciatic pain for the last 10 months. I've tried physical therapy, epidural injections, and all possible combinations of medications. Finally, I opted for surgery because the pain was interfering with my normal activities (I wasn't able to ride my bike, jog, or even walk for more than about five minutes). My surgeon, after reviewing my MRI, decided that I needed a microdiskectomy and a laminotomy in order to relieve the severe pain and give my sciatic nerve some room. I had my surgery on the 15th of August (two weeks ago today). While most of the surgery pain (soreness, etc.) has disappeared, the sciatic pain is still there. In fact, it often feels worse. My concern is that I might be one of the small percentage of people that surgery did not work for. However, many people keep telling me that the nerve may take time to heal and that two weeks is not enough time to measure success/failure of surgery. My leg is still killing me, and I'm very nervous that I might have to live with this pain. Has anyone else undergone this surgery with the same post-op pain? And if so, did it go away after a while? I am hoping that the pain will go away in time, and it makes sense to me that the nerve, after being pinched for 10 months (and possibly damaged because of that) may need some time to heal. At least that's what I'm hoping!!! Anyone else with the same situation? Anyone else know what to expect??? Thanks!
Yes, I had the same surgery on 6/6/06 and still having pain....although not as severe as before surgery. I was told it can take 6-12 months for the nerve pain to go away. I am still worried as you are. But you are new in post op...so give it some time. Look back at some of the old posts...There are several of us going through the same thing right now. I had several people here tell me I should walk as much as I can and they were so right. I braved through the first 2 weeks of walking and I am feeling better everyday. If the pain is as severe as pre-op I would go get checked. Otherwise. Rest, (laying down or reclined), ice, and someone here also recommended Magnessium... which I think has helped some bit. I also am on Neurontin for the nerve pain...makes a difference with the leg pain. Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions... It has been a long three month recovery for me and still going! Hang in there!
Thanks, ny17. The pain is just as severe as it was pre-op. But like you said, it's only been two weeks, and I don't want to be paranoid. But it's hard not to be worried when I still have the same pain, at the same level, as I did before I went in for surgery. I have been trying to walk short distances many times a day. I am also on Neurontin, but don't feel much relief from that. I will try to just be patient and give my body time to heal. Having lived with this HORRIBLE pain for the last 10 months, I am just scared to death that it won't go away, even with the surgery. I would love to hear from others who may have gone through this and have eventually felt relief. I am an avid cyclist, and I want nothing more than to get back on my bike. I guess, selfishly, I just want people who have gone through this to tell me that it's going to be fine, and that I'll recover eventually with no pain!!!
Have faith...10 months is a long time... Mine ruptured and I waited about 6 weeks. And you were obviously in great shape. I too was very active with working out, biking etc. it was a huge part of my life. If it makes you feel any better... 2 weeks ago I had a second MRI done because I was sure I re-ruptured and I did not. And I am getting better everyday. Nerve pain takes time and when you are healed a little more... With Doc's ok you will be able to walk more, stationary bike and PT. Recovery will happen much faster! Trust me... I thought too at 2-4 weeks post op I would be back to normal. Just 2 days of PT has helped tremondously. It is easy to be paranoid right now...we all have our days. The power of the mind is a powerful healer. Stay positive! Keep in mind that most people that post are still hurting and looking for anwsers. The healed ones are out biking.. So ... Do not get discouraged if you do not hear what you are looking for right now. I am ahead of you on the post op so we can keep eachother posted.
ny17: Thank you so much for your replies! It really does make me feel better. It makes sense that it'll take quite some time to heal. It's not like I expected to jump out of my hospital bed and do cartwheels, but I guess I just expected that since my surgery was to "fix" my sciatic pain, that I would feel a trememdous relief from my sciatic pain immediately after surgery. But the more I read, and the more I research, I suppose that's not the case. From what I gather, nerve pain (and possible damage) takes quite some time to heal. I just can't wait to jump back on my bike and ride! I usually do an annual bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles (fundraiser), but I had to sit this last year out. And I want nothing more than to feel like my old self again and to do the things that I used to do. I've never really been a patient guy, but I guess now is the time to learn!!! Thanks again, ny17. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and give me your input. You'll no doubt see me again on these boards!!! -Bill.
When my sciatica pain returned at about the 2 week mark I was told by my surgeon's nurse (whom I called because I was so worried about) that the nerves begin to wake up at about 2 weeks. For some reason doctor's forget to tell us these important things. If they did it would alleviate a lot of worry. I was also told by the nurse to ice every two hours. She made sure to tell me not to ice my legs (the sciatica started in on both legs where pre op it was only my right one) but the small of my back. So you're right on time as far as the nerve pain goes especially given that you had your nerves compressed for 10 months. I hope you can rest.
Nerves need time to recover from the effects of surgery. They are pulled back in order to get to the lamina and disc. I wonder if surgeons are negligent in giving information to patients embarking on surgery. Spinal surgery is not guaranteed to be a walk in the park.....it can be quite painful for a lengthy period of time while nerves are recovering.
Maybe as a society we are use to the quick fix and when we don't bounce back as anticipated we think something is wrong. My recovery from fusion years ago was very lengthy and I wasn't even out of the hospital for over three weeks. I barely managed to go to and from the washroom and the nerves took a full year to settle down.
What did your surgeon tell you about your recovery and did he or she warn you about the subsequent nerve pain???
tic6: Your situation sounds exactly like mine! I have called my surgeon's nurse three times now, because I got panicked when I suddenly started having severe sciatic pain about a week after my surgery! And she told me the same thing: Nerves take time to heal. However, my surgeon somehow neglected to tell me that. In fact, when my surgeon came by to see me in the hospital bed the morning after my surgery, he painted such a rosy picture that I had imagined myself up & walking around within a day or two, and riding a stationary bike within a week, and bicycling within a month! So when I started feeling the sciatic pain again, I panicked, and immediately thought that something had gone wrong with the surgery or that the surgery didn't work. From what I'm reading, it appears that the nerve pain & lengthy recovery time is normal.
Pooby: I think I answered your question above, also. My surgeon told me NOTHING of the subsequent nerve pain. Only my surgeon's nurse told me that the subsequent nerve pain "was not uncommon". It is frustrating, because like I said, my surgeon painted such a rosy picture. I would rather be told that there would be much recovery time and that I might be in a lot of pain for a while while the nerves heal. If I know the truth, I won't be disappointed. I certainly felt disappointed (and panicked, really) when reality set in!
Hello there akingsfan, and welcome to the board. my condition is quite like yours in that I was herniated for about 12 mo prior to my laminectomy and diskectomy on 6-14... and I am sorry to say that I am still having pain in lumbar area left hip and thigh, and it is back to, if not worse than my pre op level. I did have a repeat MRI which said I had scar tissue. but you are early out so give it some time, but if your pain continues or gets worse make sure you talk with you DR about further testing... I am going to get an ESI injection on Thursday for the pain, and I will let you know if that helps or not, wishing you well, Angelia
I'm sorry to hear about your back pain and your concerns, I am also thankful for your posting. I had originally injured my back about two years ago and I had back pain off and on and I just pushed through the pain. In April I was lifting a patient when I felt a tearing sensation in my back followed by immediate pain, once again I pushed through the pain and just ignored it for about 3-4 weeks, during this time left leg and butt pain developed and increased to severe leg pain with no back pain. It was so bad that I dreaded standing up because it felt like I would step in a barrel of hot oil. I decided to have a microdiscectomy after I had two injections which gave me 2-3 days of relief only. After my surgery I felt great - No leg pain, just pain at the site of the surgery (L5-S1). At day 5 or 6 my leg pain began to return and like you I became very nervous, I called my surgeon and his assistant instructed me to take ibuprofen 600mg/3x a day which has helped slightly. Today will mark exactly 3 weeks after surgery and I am still concerned, my leg pain kept me awake most of the night. Like you my doctor did not tell me that I may have pain when the nerve begins to heal ( I am assuming that's why). The only information I have been able to find out is information posted by other people in the same situation. From what I have researched the nerve begins to wake up in just a few days after surgery and my take up to a year for the nerve to heal fully. Knowing that I still have concerns due to my career is on the line, and I have been "hanging around" at home and I am going stir crazy. I guess we all need to learn patience during the healing process. Sorry for such a long post but I just wanted you to know that their are people in the same exact situation. Good Luck!!!!
I wanted to thank you ALL for your postings and for you advice, experiences, and words of encouragement! I didn't know what to expect after posting my concerns. I have a follow-up appointment with my neurosurgeon on the 20th of September, so I now have a handful of questions to ask him. In fact, I am writing them all down so I don't miss a thing. I knew back surgery was not a walk in the park, but I, like many of you, didn't seem to get ALL of the information (before or after my surgery). My surgeon painted such a rosy picture of me being able to immediately start re-living my life, jumping back on my bike, going to the gym, etc. But the return of my sciatic pain has me very nervous. Again, I know it's only been two weeks, but I sure didn't expect this. So I want to make sure that a post-operative MRI is done, and I want to make sure I ask my surgeon a TON of questions in my follow-up. I would still love to hear from any others who may have gone through the same thing, and what their outcomes were. Thanks again, everyone. -Bill.